German politician loses doctorate for plagiarism

German politician loses doctorate for plagiarism

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, leader of Free Democratic Party (FDP), a partner in Germany's ruling coalition, and a liberal member of European Parliament (MEP), has been stripped of his doctorate title for insufficient acknowledgement of other authors.

The University of Bonn announced yesterday that it decided to revoke his Ph.D in political science after it found that a substantial part of his thesis was copied from other research publications without properly acknowledging the sources.

Chatzimarkakis, a member of the European Parliament's influential budgetary control committee, is the second MEP and third high-profile German politician to lose a doctorate title following those of former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin.

His party colleague and fellow-MEP Silvana was deprived of her doctorate degree by the University of Heidelberg a month ago after investigations revealed that she had lifted material from more than 30 different publications for her thesis on "Historic currency union between economy and politics" and two-third of them were not acknowledged.

Allegations of plagiarism also cost Guttenberg his job as Germany's defence minister. He stepped down from his post on March 1, admitting "grave errors" in his doctorate thesis, nearly two weeks after the University of Bayreuth in the state of Bavaria found him guilty of plagiarism and withdrew his doctorate title.

An inquiry commission of Bonn University's philosophy faculty, which investigated the allegations against Chatzimarkakis, has established that "more than half" of his thesis on "Global governance using electronic commerce as a case study" was copied from other publications.

The university decided to withdraw his doctorate title awarded in 2000 because he "failed to adhere to university rules on foot notes and sourcing", dean of faculty Prof Guenther Schulz said in a statement.

Investigators came across a number of instances where he had simply reproduced entire passages from other authors and they were not acknowledged properly, Prof Schulz said.
They way he had credited foreign material in his dissertation "was insufficient and violated the rules of scientific work." It created the impression that the concerned passages are his original work, but "in reality they were reproduced from other authors," Prof Schulz said.

The university's decision is expected to end Chatzimarkakis' aspirations to become the next chairman of the budgetary control committee. He has been campaigning to succeed current chairman Italian liberal MEP Luigi de Magistris, who leaves the European Parliament to become the mayor of Naples, media reports said.

Chatzimarkakais, a member of the executive committee of the FDP, said the university's decision was "painful".

He said he cannot accept the commission's argument more than ten years after he took his doctorate that his method of acknowledging foreign material in his dissertation was "insufficient".

Nevertheless, he was relieved that the commission did not conclude that his plagiarism was "intentional", he said in a statement.

He said he himself had requested the University of Bonn to evaluate his thesis after the allegations against him appeared on the Internet in May and he intended to work for a new doctorate degree to prove that he can learn from his mistakes.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)